The UK retail sector was shocked at the weekend on news that two key supermarket names could merge. And if Sainsbury’s and Wal-Mart's Asda do merge, it would join up two of the most prominent fashion brands too.
The Foschini Group (TFG) has seen its share price rising after it reported strong trading in December. The South African group owns a raft of retailers including big UK names Whistles, Phase Eight and Hobbs.
All eyes were on Next on Thursday as this bellwether firm for the UK retail sector turned in its interim results. And what did we get? More than a touch of gloom but also definite hope for the future added to the mix.
Retailers in the UK, US, Germany and South Korea are under the most intense pressure to transform their business model due to industry disruptors like growing online shopping spend and fierce price wars.
Changes to M&S's fashion offer and a determination not to discount seem to be paying off. Sales aren't yet where they should be but the turnaround is "on track" and fashion sales should turn positive by year-end
Cautious shoppers stayed away from physical stores in greater numbers in May and fashion shops suffered the most. Hopes are low for June too after the shock election result, despite the month's warm weather boost.